Not like you need another excuse to visit the shopping haute spot known as Brentwood Country Mart, but now, Laura Vinroot Poole and her newly-opened Capitol store are ensuring that you don’t leave the place with a single cent in your savings account. Poole, whose hometown boutique in Charlotte, North Carolina is an internationally-known retailer of high fashion, is bringing her signature sensibility to Los Angeles, is partnering with Irene Neuwirth on the boutique, which also showcases an irresistible selection of the jewelry designer’s most exclusive pieces. Vinroot Poole explains!
What inspired you to open a store out West? Why was Brentwood the right location?
I actually had no plans to expand, but when Jim [Rosenfield, owner of the Brentwood Country Mart] called, I couldn’t refuse. The location is incredible — it’s the only place I would consider another store, and has always been my favorite spot to shop in LA. But it was really the opportunity to collaborate with Irene that made it real. My second largest client-base has always been in LA. In Charlotte, we have a lot in common with Los Angeles—the beautiful light and climate, and so much outdoor living. Except no mosquitos here! So the clothes really translate.
Oddly, a real difference is how cool it gets at night in California. I’ve able to buy so many more beautiful sweaters that we really aren’t able to wear in North Carolina. We’ve been blown away by the response to our arrival at the Country Mart. People seem to love all the color, both in the clothes and jewelry, and in the interior design. They often say how happy they feel in the space, and I think they’ve been surprised by how refreshed they feel to see and try on beautiful, colorful clothes.
What’s the vibe?
It’s like walking into the living room that Irene and I would have if we shared a house. It’s inviting, comfortable and dynamic. My husband Perry [Poole] and the PPA [Perry Poole Architects] team did a fantastic job reimagining the space and creating these beautiful, layered vignettes throughout the store that give it so much personality. You can’t see the entire store in one view from the entryway, which invites a sense of discovery as you walk through it.
How did you initially meet Irene?
I met Irene over 15 years ago when she was doing a trunk show across the street from my store. She stopped in during lunch, and we became fast friends. In a way, she has always felt more like a business partner to me, as we grew our businesses at the same time. This new store feels like a manifestation of many years of collaboration, and I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities.
Who are some of your neighbors at Brentwood Country Mart?
Goop, Kendall Conrad, Reddi Chick and Farmshop, where it feels like I’ve eaten every meal for the past week!
Which brands are you carrying?
A mix of designers that, surprisingly, aren’t widely represented in LA — Peter Pilotto, Valentino, Rosie Assoulin, Dries Van Noten, Johanna Ortiz, Luisa Beccaria, and some of our favorite contemporary designers, such as Lisa Marie Fernandez, Ganni, The Vampire’s Wife, and Mi Golondrina. All of our designers are so excited to come to LA for trunks shows and events, and I’ve always looked at these events as opportunities to introduce my friends and clients to some of the most talented people in the world. I can’t wait to bring those experiences to the Brentwood community.
Tell us about some of the exclusive pieces you’ll have in the store.
We just launched a small capsule collection of colorful, casual pieces with our friends at SEA, Emme Parsons, Cuisse de Grenouille and Gul Hurgel. Gul’s maxi dress is named for my daughter, Fidelia, and is pure sunshine. It was the first thing we sold!
How will you be splitting your time between Charlotte and LA?
I will be in Los Angeles for a couple of weeks each month to really learn the business here and understand the client and her needs. I absolutely love LA and always look forward to being here.
If we only buy three pieces this spring, what should they be?
North Carolina designer Ann Howell Bullard’s hand-painted leather clutches, Luisa Beccaria’s patchwork San Gallo lace halter maxi-dress, and Irene’s 18k flat gold heart earrings.